Monday, May 17

First Reviews of "Fahrenheit 9/11"

Posted just mere moments ago...

It comes from the BBC, after its debut at Cannes today. You can read it here, finally by someone who actually saw it. Here's another at Indie Wire.

TIME Magazine just posted this review by Mary Corliss.

How is it as a movie? "Fahrenheit 9/11" - the title is a play on the Ray Bradbury novel (and Francois Truffaut film) "Fahrenheit 451," about a future totalitarian state where reading, and thus independent thinking, has been outlawed - has news value beyond its financing and distribution tangles. The movie, a brisk and entertaining indictment of the Bush Administration's middle East policies before and after September 11, 2001, features new footage of abuse by U.S. soldiers: a Christmas Eve 2003 sortie in which Iraqi captives are publicly humiliated.

Though made over the past two years, the film has scenes that seem ripped from recent headlines. Last week, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld visited Iraq and, to the cheers of his military audience, defiantly called himself "a survivor" (a word traditionally reserved for those who have lived through the Holocaust or cancer, not for someone enduring political difficulties). In the film, a soldier tells Moore's field team: "If Donald Rumsfeld was here, I'd ask for his resignation." [...]

"Fahrenheit 9/11" may be seen as another example of the liberal media preaching to its own choir. But Moore is such a clever assembler of huge accusations and minor peccadillos (as with a shot of Wolfowitz sticking his pocket comb in his mouth and sucking on it to slick down his hair before a TV interview) that the film should engage audiences of all political persuasions.

In one sense, Michael Moore took George W. Bush's advice. He found "real work" deconstructing the President's Iraq mistakes. "Fahrenheit 9/11" is Moore's own War on Error.
Love that phrase. The AP's David Germain reviews the reaction in Cannes.

In the days before Cannes, Moore's Disney criticism whipped festival audiences into a fever for "Fahrenheit 9/11." Hollywood cynics called it Moore's usual showmanship, but when the movie finally unspooled, it earned resounding applause at Monday's press screenings.

"You see so many movies after they've been hyped to heaven and they turn out to be complete crap, but this is a powerful film," said Baz Bamigboye, a film columnist for London's Daily Mail. "It would be a shame if Americans didn't get to see this movie about important stuff happening in their own backyard."
One report (unsubstantiated) which flew into my inbox said there was a 15-20 minute standing ovation after the screening, but I don't see that in any of the accounts so far.